The curlers' choice

JOE PAVIA

, Last Updated: 7:56 AM ET

It's little understood, little seen but mostly loved by the players.

The sixth edition of the Continental Cup of Curling from Camrose, Alta., begins tomorrow (10:30 a.m., TSN) featuring the best from North America against the best from the rest of the curling world in a Ryder Cup-like format.

"It's an amazing experience for the players," reigning world champion Jennifer Jones said last weekend at the JSI Canada Cup in Ottawa. "You become teammates with your competitors and you get to know them on a different level. It's just a different energy about it than a normal curling event."

Curling fans don't really understand this event. For the past few years, a lack of TV exposure did not help the cause.

TSN will broadcast each draw of the event, with some of its 28 hours of coverage moving to TSN2.

The schedule for TSN is 10:30, 3 and 11 p.m. tomorrow and Friday; noon and 6 p.m. on Saturday; and 1:30 and 4 p.m. Sunday.

Think of a points 'spiel. The event showcases a number of different curling formats. The events are regular men's and women's games (worth 72 points).

Then it gets quirky. There are singles competitions (32 points); mixed doubles (36 points); then men's, women's and mixed skins games (270 points). The first side that accumulates 201 points wins. The national coaches will decide what the composition of the squads is for each event.

STAR-STUDDED LINEUP

Team North America boasts the rinks of Jones, fellow reigning world champion Kevin Martin, Kevin Koe and Stefanie Lawton. Current U.S. champions Debbie McCormick and Craig Brown complete the team from this continent. Russ Howard is captain while Jim Waite, Canada's national coach, tags along.

The World, which used to be called Europe, is joined by the two Pacific champions from China this year. Teams Wang (Bingyu and Fengchun as skips) will accompany the rinks of Sweden's Anette Norberg, Switzerland's Miriam Ott, Scotland's David Murdoch and Norway's Thomas Ulsrud. Gold medallist Pal Trulsen from Norway is the captainwhile three-time world champion Peja Lindholm from Sweden is the coach.

Money isn't the motivation here. While each winning player receives $2,000 the variety of events, camaraderie and team bonding are paramount.

OCA RESULTS: In senior regional action, the rinks that advance to the provincials are: 1A -- Layne Noble and Cheryl McBain; B -- Bruce Delaney and Toni Rutland. The Scottie Zone 4A winner was Allie Wood.

CURLING THIS WEEK: The TSC Tankard and Scotties zones are this weekend.


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